Thinking It Out Loud

Entrepreneur Spotlight: Carisa Stark


Q&A with Carisa Stark.  Carisa is the owner/operator of MaryJane Burgers and Brews and Jackson Street BrewCo in Perryville, MO.  Perryville is a small town approximately 70 miles south of St. Louis.  Known primarily as a small farming community, MaryJane Burgers and Brew has put Perryville on the foodie and libertine map.

  “Mary Jane was created to display our passion for fresh, local ingredients prepared into stunning dishes and paired with amazingly delicious craft beer. We pride ourselves by using only the freshest ingredients. We buy local when possible to support our small town economy. Our burgers are prepared fresh daily using Midwest-raised cattle, no GMOs, no antibiotics and are accompanied with fresh-baked buns.”

Typical pub fare with a flair..everything from street tacos, in house salsa, to burgers with everything AND the kitchen sink…all in a cool vibe with functioning garage doors that open the restaurant up to let the outside in.  Beer club, a changing bar menu, and an on site party suite make this small town gem a destination for weddings, reunions, and a local watering hole.  With the addition of her own brewery, Jackson BrewCo, and the rotating 20 taps, MaryJanes is a great place to indulge and enjoy the day or evening with friends.

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Entrepreneur Spotlight: Autumn Masterson Pettit

Q&A with Autumn Masterson Pettit.  Owner of Private Correctional Services. PCS works with non violent offenders through the court system and monitors drug and alcohol abuse  through drug tests and breathalyzers, ankle bracelets for house arrest’s, and provides contracted probation services to the courts.

Basically Autumn is a bad ass with dimples and a soft spoken manner.  Some might say a pretty version of Dog the Bounty Hunter.  I just call her my friend.  Autumn is a vegetarian, animal lover (ALL kinds) and wife and mother as well as business owner.

Q: How did you come into the business of private corrections?

When I was in college I had an interest in law enforcement. Unfortunately, that career path required weekend and night work. I waited tables through college and was keenly aware that night, private events, and holidays was something I didn’t want to work on. So, I opted for corrections. I started my first job in the field at a private agency in 2007 and worked there for two years before being hired on with the Board of Probation and Parole in Caruthersville, MO. In  2007, an opportunity became available to bid on the contract for the private agency that I once worked for. I decided to create a bid and relay how I felt a probation office should be ran. I was awarded the bid in 2007.

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Entrepreneur Spotlight: Dr. Monique Carlisle Johnson

Q&A with Dr. Monique Carlisle Johnson, owner of MCJ Consulting.  Based in the Cincinnati area, Monique works with schools and organizations and individuals who are ready to improve, grow, and change in ways that make a difference in the world.  MJC  Consulting is especially committed to full customized counsel, guidance, and support to educational organizations focused on student success.

Among other achievements Monique has her doctorate in Counselor Education with a focus in Higher Education Administration and a minor in Human Resource Development for Trainers, The Pennsylvania State University.

*Editors privilege:  When you meet Monique you can’t help but know that she is committed to what her role is.  I love to give this example of how she and her family live.  She and I were GS leaders together on an overnight camp out.  Camping is NOT Monique’s thing.  When she told her husband that “camping is for the birds” his response sums up their family mantra:  “So be a bird then”.  And you know what…she was a bird.  She cooked out, hiked, and sang songs like her entire heart was in it.  Because that is who she is.  Committed to the role she is in and gets the job done.

Q: Did you always want to have your own business?

No, I describe myself as the accidental entrepreneur. After being hired as a consultant (independent contractor) by the local school district two years ago, I realized that I was a business owner but did not see myself in that way.
 Over the past year, I began studying entrepreneurship and had an inspiring encounter with a retired Principal who inspired me to own it. MCJ Consulting was born in June of 2016.
I’m no stranger to business ownership.  My husband and I have owned a rental property business for the past 14 years.  He’s always been very entrepreneurial and owning real estate was a goal of his.  We bought our first home in 2002 and we now have 18 homes. We work together to manage the properties.


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Entrepreneur Spotlight: Tricia Zimmer Ferguson

Q&A with Tricia Zimmer Ferguson.  While not big on titles, for all intents and purposes, Tricia functions as the CEO in this family business. Kaldi’s Coffee, Honolulu Coffee, The Frothy Monkey Roasting company, and Firepot Tea.   Along with her husband, dad, brother, and sister, Tricia has worked hard to develop and expand what began as regional coffee roasting company with 6 cafe’s, into a global business.  To date there are 17 Kaldi’s locations in 4 cities in the USA, 45 Honolulu Coffee locations in Hawaii, Guam, Japan, Canada, and China.  The Frothy Monkey has 4 stores/cafe’s in the Nashville, Tennessee area with a new location coming to Chattanooga.  Firepot Tea can be found in 8 different states including Kaldi’s locations as well as Honolulu Coffee locations and cafe’s across the board.

Q: Why Coffee?

I don’t think it’s just the coffee but what coffee does. Coffee brings people together. It’s about the memories and experiences you have when drinking coffee. It’s one of those constants through life that’s there through ALL of the times. 

Our companies are all built around the mission of bringing our customers and guests together for a memorable experience,  bringing our employees into a long term growth environment that practices sustainable business practices and educational opportunities, and supporting the communities that are supporting us. Coffee is about coming together.

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Entrepreneur Spotlight: Ali Altenthal


Q&A with entrepreneur/professional model Ali Altenthal.  Ali is a wife, mom to step son Parker, barrel racing, gun toting, bow hunting, 5’11 ball of cowgirl attitude with super model looks.  And she is 100% nice to boot!  Yep, its the girl we all want to dislike..but can’t help but love.  First signed by Ford Models at age 15 Ali has worked with top names in the industry.  To name a few- Tommy Hilfiger, Teen Vogue, Kenneth Cole, Top 5 finalist in the nation for Victoria Secret Angel Search, Diane Von Furstenburg, New Balance, Glo Jeans, Elle Magazine, Gander Mountain, and TJ Maxx.

Q: Horse Vs. Camera.  What do you enjoy about both?

I got into horses and fell in love with them when I was fairly young. They taught me patience, trust and how to work hard, but I came to realize very quickly how expensive they were. Especially when I started getting into barrel racing.

Being in front of the camera at a young age really helped me financially to make my dream a reality, I paid cash for my first truck and trailer and was able to buy my first barrel horse that I could be competitive on. The camera in my life has led to me being able to live an interesting life that includes travel and financial security.  I have been able to make the country girl inside me a priority.  Isn’t that what any business owner wants to be able to do?  I own business’s that enables my chosen lifestyle to be a reality.


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Entrepreneur Spotlight: Julie McNeely

Q&A with entrepreneur Juli McNeely.  Juli is a licensed insurance and investment professional, owns her own practice with a team of 6, a published author “No Necktie Needed”, and the first female president of NAIFA.  NAIFA, the professional association for Insurance and Investment advisors is over 100 years old and at the time of her tenure in 2014 there were 40,000+ members.

She is a frequent speaker at industry events, is a contributing author to Advisor Today magazine’s “Back Page” column, and has been interviewed by many media outlets, including the Wall Street Journal, Reuters, InvestmentNews, the Atlanta Business Journal, Employee Benefit Advisor, InsuranceNewsNet, and National Underwriter.

Q: Insurance and Investments.  Can you summarize two tips for my readers?

A: .  Insurance:  A good defense is the best offense!

B:  Investments:  Growing your wealth requires patience and foresight.

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Entrepreneur Spotlight: Caitlin Schlichting

Caitlin Schlichting - Digital Marketing Entrepreneur
Caitlin Schlichting - Digital Marketing Entrepreneur
Featured Entrepreneur

Q&A with entrepreneur and digital marketer, Caitlin Schlichting, who started her own digital marketing agency called Digital Fire and also teaches and coaches other digital marketers how to master online marketing and get the best results for their clients.

Q: Why be the boss?

A: For me, it isn’t about being a boss. It’s about finding my own way.  It’s about being able to make a quick change when I see an opportunity…without having to go through a bunch of bureaucracy and the chain of command.  And sure it is nice to be able to make my own schedule, but that is really just icing on the cake.

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